Soldier dies trying to rescue daughters from house fire

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HOPE MILLS, N.C. — A U.S. Army soldier died along with his two daughters early Tuesday after he ran back inside a burning house in an attempt to rescue them.

Chief Warrant Officer Edward Duane Cantrell, 36, died trying to rescue his two daughters — 6-year-old Isabella and 4-year-old Natalia — from their burning home at 4151 Pecan Drive around 2 a.m.

According to WTVD, Edward was a member of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg who had recently returned from a mission in Afghanistan.

37-year-old Louise Cantrell, the soldier’s wife, said she and her husband escaped from the blaze by jumping out of a window on the second floor.  However, Louise said Edward wrapped himself in a blanket and ran back inside in an attempt to rescue their two daughters.

Louise ran next door to call 911 when her husband ran back inside, but rescuers arrived to find the three victims dead from smoke inhalation.

Louise was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Authorities do not suspect foul play.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Deputies said the home’s age may have contributed to how quickly the flames spread.

A spokesperson for U.S. Army Special Forces Command told WTVD that the soldier completed one deployment to Iraq and five deployments to Afghanistan, most recently redeploying in August, 2011.  The spokesperson said he’s received four Bronze Star medals and one Purple Heart among other decorations since 1994.


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